[Question #2799] Accidental Prick

40 months ago
Hello Doc. I've been tested for hiv 3 weeksago which came back negative(4th gen-duo). But I accidentally pricked myself with a lancet that was used by somebody else. This happened in less than a minute. It wasn't in the glucometer, it was used with bare hands. and i pricked myself with it with some blood oozing out. I am going crazy with the fear for hiv and hcv. I read online there have been cases with this route. Do you think I'm at risk? if there even a slightest chance of the infection? Is lancet a risk for hiv spread? should i go for a test? when do i do it if needed? is 4 weeks testing reliable? I appreciate your help in advance. Thanks.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
40 months ago
Welcome to the Forum. I'll be glad to comment.  You don't say much about the circumstances by which you got stuck but if you know who had used the lancet before you, you could arrange for them to be tested.  Statistically, most people using lancets will not have either HIV or HCV.

Even if the lancet had been used by an infectious person, the risk for infection are low for a number of reasons.  These include:
1.  The longer since the lancet was used, the less likely it is that either virus would be infectious.  Both viruses quickly become non-infectious in exposure to the air/environment.
2.  Unlike hollow-point viruses, lancets are solid and therefor carry much less blood forward after use, reducing the probability of infection.
3.  Most needlesticks from infected persons do not lead to infection.

As far as testing is concerned, at4 weeks nearly all but not quite 100% of recent HIV infections would be detected by currently available combination HIV antigen/antibody tests.  To be absolutely confident a 6 week test is now recommended but nearly all infections would be detected at 4 weeks.

I hope these comments are helpful.  EWH
---
40 months ago
Thank you so much. Let me give you some more details about the incidence.
My housekeeper used to lancet for pricking herself and did not discard it. I did not notice it on the table and accidentally hit my hand on it. It was a prick, which caused a drop of blood to ooze out. This happened around a minute after she used it. It is totally stupid on her part to leave it there and I have explained her to not repeat this again, but I'm going crazy about getting infected. Does 1 minute make it enough for the virus to not spread the inefction? ( assuming she is infected )
It is still socially awkward to speak about HIV from where I come from. Plus she is really illiterate and uneducated to know about HIV or even consider testing. And for the same reason I cannot talk to her about it. and this keeps me in the dark about her hiv status.
Do you find the need for me to be tested? If I do a test at 4 weeks and if it comes back negative, should this be trusted or there is an absolute need to get tested at 6 weeks again?
Thanks for everything.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
40 months ago
 As I said above, it is unlikely that your housekeeper has a blood borne infection.   The fact that she is your housekeeper makes the easiest way to rule out any possibility of infection would be to have her tested (you outdo pay for it).  If you choose not to do that, your risk of infection is very very low! As explained above but, If your concerns and anxiety continue to worry you, then testing to prove that you were not infected.   Personally if I were you I would not worry about it further.  EWH---